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Janet Roberts

Whitelisting Alert for EarthLink Users
By Janet Roberts

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Today's the day that ISP giant EarthLink makes its two-stage spamBlocker service available to any EarthLink user that wants it. Email publishers and marketers can expect to see either or both of two scenarios, based on the ISP's description at its Web site:

  • More challenge-response requests
    EarthLink has adopted a version of the increasingly popular challenge-response system, in which the mail server blocks delivery of any email message whose sending address isn't on the recipient's list of approved senders. The system sends you a challenge to which you must respond if you want your email delivered.

  • More sidelined mailings
    Until your mailings are cleared, EarthLink will quarantine them, although it's not clear from the spamBlocker description at the site whether they go into the Known Spam folder.

Here's a short list of previous Ezine-Tips on this issue; you'll find more in our archives:

How to Whitelist Your Newsletter

Whitelisting means getting readers to put your email address in their address books or on their approved-senders list so that your newsletters get delivered without interference. Here are two whitelisting strategies, but be sure to read the caveat that follows:

  • The best way is to reach subscribers before you email them for the first time, either with an email confirmation request or your first newsletter. In most cases, this means figuring out your email sending address and telling subscribers to place it in their address books or approved-senders list. For example, the Ezine-Tips sending address is

  • Put these instructions where subscribers will be most likely to see them, such as your Web registration form or next to email subscription instructions if you don't use Web forms.

  • Post a note in each newsletter to catch attention if and when you land in the bulk-mail or alleged-spam folder and direct readers to your whitelisting instructions.

  • Logically, you should post this information near the top of your newsletter to make sure people see it, but you'll end up making everybody else slog through a lot of irrelevant copy before you get to your live content.

    So, post an alert at the top and direct attention to your whitelisting instructions at the end of your newsletter.

Will These Strategies Work?

That's the big question. You can knock yourself out telling your readers what they have to do to keep receiving your newsletters, but they have to take some initiative.

Based on my interactions with some Ezine-Tips readers, I wouldn't bet the ranch on it. Thanks, however, to those readers who have told us that they did whitelist our address in advance.

Ezine-Tips for May 28, 2003

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